Cock a Doodle Doooooooooo, Cock a Doodle Dooooooooooooo, Wouldn’t the sound of that irritate you?
Normally it would me too but I have a story to tell you. A story about a couple of chickens and a rooster, who had an unbelievable relationship.
I once inherited two chickens; Millie and Tillie. They just came to my house one day and never left. No one knew where they came from or where they were going. They just came. One day I woke up in the morning and there they were. Cluck, cluck, cluck, as if they were saying. “Do you have any food for some hungry chickens”? They seemed to know that I loved animals and I was going to take care of them. But what the heck do chickens eat? I had never been around chickens in my life. Well I certainly didn’t keep any chicken food around but I must have something in my cabinets that I could give them. “Hm” I said, “If they think they are going to hang around here and that I am going to feed them, they are mistaken.” (I was trying to convince myself). I found some dry bread that I crumbled up and I put some oatmeal in a dish with the bread. I got a dish of cold water and took that outside with the food. They ate and ate. They looked like they had not eaten in days.
Right away I thought to myself, “I will have to find names for these hens. I can’t just call them chicken one and chicken two. Or White chicken and Black chicken”. So I thought the names Millie and Tillie were cute and I think the names fit.
Millie was a silky white, very pretty hen. She was a large buxomy chicken with a very long beak. If she were human I would imagine her to wear spectacles on her nose and have her hair in a big high bun in the back of her head. I would imagine her speaking like she had a very high education. She seemed to be the boss of the two. Tillie was black with white speckles all over her feathers as if she had been splattered with white paint and left to dry. She was a tall, slender, distinguished looking hen but she seemed to cower when Millie spoke. If she were human I would imagine her as the quiet, demure one with short curly hair and no make up. She did not advance toward the food until Millie said, “Cluck, Cluck, Cluck.” As if the say, “ok come and eat”. Then Tillie went toward the food and started eating along with Millie. They ate and ate and all the while they ate I stayed out there with them and talked to them thinking maybe they would get used to my voice and not be afraid.
Well my first mistake was feeding them. My second mistake was making sure they were not afraid of me. I seemed to have adopted two chickens or been adopted by the two. Every morning I would get up and there they would be, in the tree outside my door. Yes, I said in the tree. They were the first chickens that I had ever seen that roosted in a tree. But then I had not known that many chickens before in my life. I guess they felt as if they were safe there. Every morning I would come out to the porch to get my paper, there they were. After a couple days of bread and crackers I knew that I needed to get them some real food. I called the local pet shelter and they told me where to get the supplies that I need so off I went to the store. I bought chicken food made out of all kinds of seeds and vitamins and minerals. Everything a chicken would need to survive. If I were going to have chickens around, I better have healthy ones. So I went back home to deliver the food to my two new friends. Or, my new kids, if you will.
Millie and Tillie greeted me when I got home. I let them sample the food I had just bought for them. They seemed to beam with excitement. So I put the food in a barrel that I had in the shed. I didn’t want to leave it in the bag because then I probably would have had some new friends again. MICE! Mice loved that sort of thing. And I didn’t need a nest of them also. I had two chickens, 3 cats and a dog now. I did not need a family of mice. I put some food in a dish and fresh water. I left the chickens to go do my housework. Lulu, my dog greeted me at the door. I petted her and gave her a hug. She looked at me as if to say, “Is that all I get. What about my treat?” I felt bad so I reached in the cabinet and got her a chew bone. Just for being my Lulu. Needless to say she followed me everywhere after that. The next time I saw Millie and Tillie, they had climbed back up in the tree and were taking a nap. I stood there and scratched my head and thought, “what am I going to do with two big old chickens?”
Mr. Jackson from next door came to see me the next day. He was smiling a knowing smile. He asked me to come to his car with him. He had something for Millie and Tillie. “Look, look what I have gotten for you hens”. Mr. Jackson was so excited. From inside his car he pulled out the handsomest, strongest looking rooster I had ever seen. He stood so proud with his chest sticking out and his tail feather flaring. His chest was yellow and green and black and just as shiny as it could be. His comb was so tall that it fell to the side when he turned his head. His tail feathers rose to the sky and curled down again from the weight. “Cock a doodle do.” He said. “Cock a doodle do”.
Mr. Jackson had gotten this fine handsome rooster from a friend of his. He thought that “the girls” would enjoy having a man around. And enjoy they did. Millie and Tillie couldn’t get down the tree fast enough. They both wanted his attention at the same time. He was very complimented and showed it. He was strutting around the yard, scratching the ground every few feet, showing all of his assets. Millie, with her beautiful white feathers and Tillie with her tall slender figure were very impressed. We, “the girls” and I, decided that we would name him Gordo. Mr. Jackson just laughed at us and said to enjoy. I thanked him for Gordo and told him that Millie, Tillie and Gordo would be friends before he knew it and they would be over to his house shortly. I told him he better stock up on food because Gordo did not look like a small eater. He laughed again and went to his house.
Days went by and Gordo and the girls did become friends. If Gordo wasn’t with Millie and Tillie, then Millie and Tillie were with Gordo. He would eat out of their dish and drink their water. But that was ok with “the girls”. They were in love. Gordo never had it so good. Two beautiful ladies after him all of the time. Gordo had even stopped going home at night. He would spend the night in the tree with “the girls”.
Then one day, I walked outside and Gordo could not be seen. Hmm, Mr. Jackson must have him locked up. Millie and Tillie seemed to be in a dither about it also. Days went by and I finally called Mr. Jackson to see what was going on with Gordo. “Is he sick?” I asked. He broke the news to me that some of the neighbors were complaining about Gordo, saying that he had been attacking people and that his crowing was bothering everyone so early in the morning. That was so hard for me to believe. Gordo was so kind. I could not believe he was attacking anyone and his crowing certainly did not bother me and he was right by my bedroom window. But Mr. Jackson took Gordo back to the friends that he had gotten him from. What would we do with out him? He surely would be missed.
But it seems that Gordo was not only eating food and drinking water with Millie and Tillie. Pretty soon “the girls” were clucking to a different tune. It was the nesting song. Have you ever heard it? Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, continually all daylong. Gordo had been busy while he was there.
After weeks of sitting on their nests, I don’t remember just how long, the chicks were born. 16 total. Millies chicks were all white and buxomy and Tillies chicks were all tall and black with white spots all over their feathers as if someone had splattered with paint and left it to dry. And from each family was a beautiful chick with a very tall comb that flopped to the side when he turned his head, yellow, green and black chests and tail feathers that reached to the sky and then fell from the weight of them. Gordo is gone but he will live on in our hearts and in the lives of our chicks.
We will miss you Gordo and if you’re ever in the neighborhood please stop and see us again.